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Avengers #96: Review

Feb 1972
Roy Thomas, Neal Adams

Story Name:

The Andromeda Swarm

Review & Comments

Rating:
5 stars

Avengers #96 Review by (January 27, 2012)
The Supreme Intelligence's plan requires getting Captain Marvel and Rick Jones into position, as we will see next issue. To that end he got Rick involved in the recent actions, and got him taken to Hala. He also helped to get Marvel taken by the Skrulls. But he didn't initiate Marvel's capture, as this seems to have been a plan directed by the Skrull emperor, outside the Supremor's influence. I am unsure how or why the Supremor influenced Craddock. As we will find next issue, Craddock is a Skrull. The Skrulls were trying to disrupt the Avengers (presumably to stop them helping Marvel) without the Supremor's interference, and I don't see how it particularly furthered the Supremor's aims. Rick Jones, Captain Marvel and the Negative Zone are intimately connected. In CM#16 CM saved the Supremor from Ronan's Negatron Bomb, but the explosion hurled him into the Negative Zone (first seen in Fantastic Four #51). In CM#17 Rick found the Nega-Bands, which allowed him to temporarily swap places with Marvel. The symbiotic partnership continued until Marvel's series was suspended at #21. Then behind the scenes in FF#109 Marvel saw Reed Richards exit the Zone. In Av#89 Marvel and Rick used the FF's portal to free Marvel from the Zone (stopping Annihilus from coming through as well). And that led to our involvement in the Kree/Skrull War. Captain Marvel asks for Rick's forgiveness because, as we will learn next time, he is responsible for Rick's sudden plunge into the Zone.

A banner on the cover plugs the fact that Captain America, Iron Man and Thor are in this issue, a practice that will continue to #102. This is part 8 of the Kree-Skrull War, with a title based on the book and film "The Andromeda strain". The Andromeda galaxy is enormous (in fact it's galaxy-sized), so it's stupendously amazing that the Avengers arrive at the same spot as the Skrull armada. Particularly as their real target was the Skrull throneworld, and they had no idea where that was. Clint Barton is still dressed as Goliath, but he destroyed his stock of growth serum in #94, after his failure to stop the abduction of Marvel and the mutants in #93. Captain Marvel's holographic ruse here is presumably separate from the Super-Skrull imitating him as described in Young Avengers #11, and in my Comments on last issue. Since the Skrulls are based in the Andromeda galaxy in our northern hemisphere and the Kree homeworld is in the Greater Magellanic Cloud, a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way in our southern hemisphere, then Earth could well be said to lie between them. But for it to be of strategic importance implies that both empires spread from their home galaxies into ours. Ronan doesn't mention that the Kree have had an interest in Earth long before this round of Kree/Skrull hostilities. We already know that they created the Inhumans from pre-historic man, and left Sentry #459 to observe how their experiment turned out. And in #133 we will learn that the relationship goes back millenia, to the creation of the Blue Area of the Moon, where Uatu the Watcher now lives. And that the Kree/Skrull enmity dates back that far too.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #96 Synopsis by Rob Johnson

Nick Fury lends Captain America, Goliath, Iron Man, Thor and Vision a SHIELD spaceship, despite the Avengers being wanted men because of H Warren Craddock's Alien Activities Commission. They intend to go rescue Captain Marvel, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, kidnapped by the Skrulls in #93. (They would presumably also afterwards go after Rick Jones, taken last issue from the Inhumans' city by the Kree. But events next issue will make that moot.)

Thor's hammer Mjolnir powers the ship into hyperspace, and takes them to the Andromeda galaxy, home of the Skrulls, where they pop out just in front of an armada about to set out for Earth. Our heroes somehow make it look like they are part of a large fleet, even though their radar-equivalent image is a lone ship.

The Skrull flagship comes forward to investigate. The Avengers quit their spaceship to attack, Cap and Clint (whose remnant Goliath-power has run out) in 1-man mini-ships, the other 3 under their own power. Goliath stays outside to watch for the rest of the Skrull fleet, while the other 4 break in to the flagship.

The Skrull emperor, on a video-link from the Skrull throneworld, boasts to the Avengers how Captain Marvel is constructing a Kree Omni-Wave Projector for the Skrulls to use as a weapon, to save the lives of the hostage Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. But the Captain turns out to be a holographic projection from the Omni-Wave, and the real Mar-Vell frees the mutant twins.

The emperor orders the Skrull commander to initiate a contingency plan. Vision beats the commander up, to find out about the plan, and also to elicit the coordinates of the throneworld (because he is desperate to save his love Wanda, which the other Avengers don't know about).

The Skrull tells them that they had originally intended just to capture Earth. But now a ship has been sent to destroy the world. Cap radios Clint to stop that ship, and Barton latches his small craft onto the Skrull vessel as it prepares for hyper-space jump. And he blasts his way in.

Meanwhile Rick Jones is brought before the current Kree ruler Ronan on the Kree homeworld Hala. Ronan recognises Rick from #91 where he helped mess up a Kree plot. Ronan shows Rick a fleet of ships intending to capture earth for the Kree or destroy it. He says that Earth happens to occupy a strategic position between the 2 empires.

Rick is imprisoned with the Kree Supreme Intelligence, whom Ronan deposed as ruler in #89. The Intelligence is composed of the best minds from Kree history. He has been mentally influencing events since his captivity. The top-level Kree and Skrulls are shielded from his influence, so he has concentrated on the Earth.

The Supremor tells Rick he sent the vision in #92 which impelled Rick to get involved in the current situation. In #93 he prevented Captain Marvel from realising that Carol Danvers was the Super-Skrull before the Skrull could capture him and take him to the Skrull throneworld. Last issue he caused a Kree to capture Rick and bring him here. He also says that he indirectly caused H Warren Craddock to hound the Avengers from #92.

Suddenly Rick is pulled into the Negative Zone to face Annihilus. With a vision of Captain Marvel telling Rick he's sorry.


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Neal Adams
Tom Palmer
?
Neal Adams (Cover Penciler)
Tom Palmer (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Andromeda, Annihilus, Goliath (Clint Barton), Kree, Ronan (Ronan the Accuser), Skrulls, Super-Skrull.